The Importance of Having a Will

My father passed away last December after a battle with skin cancer and COPD.  He was not a financially wealthy man.  He was rich with love from his daughters, grandchildren, family and friends.  I'm not sure if he was being optimistic or was in denial about his health, he never created a will despite his failing health.

A few weeks after we buried Dad, I went to his bank to see what I was suppose to do.  At the very least, I wanted them to know that he was no longer living and to close the account to prevent any charges or activity that should no longer be happening.  The person who "helped" me wouldn't even speak to me without a will.  In fact, he hinted that if I opened an account, it might be easier to assist me.  I was so upset and emotional that I stormed out.  I was looking for guidance and received nothing…silly me.

If you don't create a will, then the State of Washington has specific laws as to what will happen with any real or personl property and who will be the beneficiary of the estate.  This is referred to as "intestate".   Dad's "estate" is probably is not enough to hire an attorney over.  If there's anything to help reimburse the cost of his burial, we'll be pleasantly surprised.   

By the way, this site has been the most helpful that I've found so far with trying to figure out what to do: This site has been probably the most helpful that I've found so far regarding Dad's estate:

If you're drafting or updating your will, you may want to consider an estate planner or attorney who specializes in this matter to help you determine if you need a trust and to avoid possible death taxes. 

Please take time to create a will for you and your loved ones.  Make sure your wishes are honored and let someone know where your will is.  If you have a will, when was the last time you updated it?   Please don't leave this matter up to Washington State laws.  If my Dad would have had a will, I believe this issue would have been easily resolved by now.


  1. Facebook comment via Dawn Ilene Shackewyc King (I had to share this – it’s so important):

    It amazes me the amount of people that don’t get wills and life insurance and do this – I worked in an estate planning law firm for 11 years and currently as an insurance agent for 3 1/2 years. This is so important… esp. if you have children – children need to have some type of guardian language if (under the age of 18) in the will and money to take care of themselves, burial/cremation at the least. DPOA’s should be set in place ESPECIALLY if you are married and have a family.. but also for those that don’t fall into that category and want to designate someone to make those hard decisions.

    A general checklist for you looking into these items as a to-do list this year are:

    1. A will (you can find simple wills online if you don’t want to seek out an attorney to do this)

    2. DPOA’s – Durable Power of Attorney (one financial, one for health – you can make separate designations for each category so if someone is stronger with finances over someone who makes more sound health decisions)

    3. Directive to Physicians (also known as a living will – directing whether you want food and hydration if you were in a non responsive state)

    4. DNR – Do not resusitate. It’s a green form that you can get from a doctor, fire station or online. It states whether or not you want to be resuscitated.

    5. A Trust if you own your own business or have assets that need to be governed or need a tax credit shelter – most people don’t need trusts, so do a little research on your own before contacting an attorney because they typically cost over $2500 to do, however, check with an attorney on specifics.

    6. Life insurance – to cover the cost of a funeral/burial/cremation (higher amounts for those that want to cover the cost of mortgages, spousal income or leave $ to your family) – but you also can have life insurance to cover costs of college or unforeseen expenses (there’s more than just term life out there) I’ve said it for years though – Term insurance is cheap and everyone should have it!! (that can qualify for it). remember – EVERYONE DIES and someone has to pick up the bill.

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